Dr Brigit Mirfin-Veitch is the Director of the Donald Beasley Institute, an independent charitable trust that conducts research and education in the area of disability with a specific focus on learning (intellectual) disability. Her research has explored deinstitutionalisation from the perspectives of family members of people with a learning (intellectual) disability who were moved from Templeton institution and the Kimberley Centre, the last of New Zealand’s large institutions to close.
Dr Mirfin-Veitch’s wider research projects in the area of parenting, health and wellbeing and the justice system have included many people with learning disabilities who have reported abuse in State care. She was the co-author of ‘“Institutions are places of abuse”: The experiences of disabled children and adults in State Care’, published in 2017.
Dr Mirfin-Veitch will address the nature and extent of abuse and neglect that occurred to people with learning disabilities in State care between the 1950s-1990s, and the impacts on the person abused as well as their family, whānau and community. She will discuss the systemic factors that allowed abuse to occur in institutions and the changes through deinstitutionalisation, and how abuse currently features in the lives of people with learning disabilities.